People often come into meetings with us without a clue as to what to ask or what to do. We give them paperwork to fill out that only asks for the very basic information. When they sit down we basically ask them to tell us what brought them to us. They sit there for thirty minutes telling us their story. Sometimes we have to ask a few questions to keep them on track, but normally they flood us with information. Sometimes they feel so uncomfortable they can barely get out the information they came to tell us. Then, after they have talked for a good thirty minutes to an hour, we ask them if they have any questions to ask us. Sometimes they have no clue what to ask. They have never sat in those chairs before. Unless they’ve been lawyer shopping, they don’t have a clue what to look for in a lawyer. So, in order to help the consult newbies, I’ve come up with some questions that’ll help you decide whether or not your lawyer is good for you:
- What can you do to help me? Instead of asking if we can win your case, ask what we can do for you. This is the time where we get to tell you our plan for your case. We get to look at the information you’ve given us and give you our game plan. If you don’t like our strategic approach, then you’ll know now. That helps us because you won’t be constantly second guessing us, and it helps you because you’ll know if you want the case to go a different direction. On the other hand, if you feel that you’re going in the same direction, you’ll feel like you’re in safe hands and won’t feel the need to constantly second guess us. That makes everyone happy. The last thing you want is to have a game plan of playing it nice and then unleashing a banshee on your spouse.
- What is the expected timeline? People often think that if we file a Motion, we’ll get in court the next day. I blame TV for this. It’s amazing the time it takes to get into court on an emergency… don’t get me started on just a regular Motion. It appears that all nine planets have to align for us to get into some courtrooms. It all depends on the Judge’s schedule, our schedule, and the other cases that are demanding time.
- When can I expect updates from you? Some clients call every day. We are one of those firms that keep our clients overly updated. We normally email or call the minute we know something. We will update you if we know something by the end of the day at the very least. You don’t have to call many times to find out any updates on your case. We advise our clients not to call numerous times because we want you to conserve your funds! If you don’t ask, though, you don’t know. There are other firms who will have their secretary call once a month to let you know what is going on. You need to know what to expect when you put your money down. Speaking of which…
- Do you take payment plans? Some lawyers want a big retainer up front. We know people in our area of law that charge $40,000.00 just to start the case. You need to know if you need to start pawning jewelry or selling your prized elephant. The last thing you want to do is to expect to pay nothing and end up with a huge price on your head. On the other hand, there are firms, like us, who will take a payment plan and as long as you follow your payment plan, you’re golden. For people who didn’t see this coming, and haven’t been stockpiling for years, this could be your best bet.
- What do you charge for? This helps both you and your lawyer. If you know you’re getting charged for phone calls, emails, letters, smoke signals, and stopping by, you’ll probably limit that activity to the necessary amount. However, if you didn’t know, you might send carrier pigeons every fifteen minutes to get the status of your case. We’re here to represent your family in an economically efficient way. We aren’t here to bankrupt you. That’s not our style. With that said, make sure you ask us what we charge for so you know what to expect.